Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Victim of the Surveillance State

I am writing this blog entry in a troubled mood of hot outrage and cold paranoia.

Today I opened a letter from the City of Aurora and found that Aurora was accusing me of the crime of "Failure to Obey Signal Light." Aurora asserted that I had run a light that had been red for 0.3 seconds. The letter provided a link to evidence on the Aurora surveillance website, which displayed crime scene photographs and a video, all allegedly taken by robot surveillance cameras (the pride of Aurora's new revenue generation technology).

Analyzing the images, I instantly had suspicions that the evidence had been doctored. Yes, the photographs were taken at a time and a location consistent with my usual morning travel to work. And yes, it was clearly my old Volvo and its license plate shown in the photographs taken from the rear. However, a photograph taken from the front, a close-up view of the driver, was a forgery, a clever cut-and-paste job. The fellow behind the wheel resembled me, down to the details of my glasses and my faded WalMart-brand shirt; but the forger had made a subtle Photoshop error and had inserted a stretched image of my face into the photograph, making me look fatter and older than in real life.

I plan to pay the traffic fine without protest. When you live in a surveillance state, it's best to keep Big Brother from knowing you are wise to his deceptions.

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